Thursday, February 5, 2009

Review -- FRASER MacPHERSON TRIO -- Live At Puccini's 1977

LIVE AT PUCCINI'S 1977
Fraser MacPherson Trio
Cellar Live
9.5-out-of-10

Ah to reach back through time and pull forward a gem like this CD is a credit to the Cellar Live label.
In this case they turn back the clock 30 years, to give listeners a taste of the Fraser MacPherson Trio. The trio is fronted of course by tenor saxophonist Fraser MacPherson, and while his tenor work is as smooth as silk, he in no way overshadows his mates. Oliver Gannon is allowed to showcase his fine guitar work, and Wyatt Ruther shows that the bass can jump to the forefront and star just as easily as the other instruments here.
Musically, this is pure jazz. There is no pretense to add electronica, no desire by this trio to go way out on the edge of the genre, even for the era it was recorded. Instead, they stay true to the heart of jazz. For the most part the music is a happy journey of sounds, the three musicians playing off against each musicians individual strengths. At times each is allowed to step into the limelight and for a time they lead the journey, then easily stepping back to walk in perfect step with the others, as the three blend flawlessly.
At times, such as the cut Body and Soul, the trio switches things up, with a number that would be perfect for lovers embracing on the dance floor, slow, relaxed, and tender.
MacPherson himself died in 1993, but thankfully material like this CD are still out there. MacPherson was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1987 and won the Oscar Peterson Trophy shortly before his death in 1993. In the summer of 1993, Pacific Music Industry Association (PMIA) created the Fraser MacPherson Scholarship Fund which annually awards grants of $2000 to from four to eight young music students.
The trio was formed in 1975, and it's hard to imagine it sounding any better than on the night at Puccini's when this CD was captured.
Highly regarded at the time, this CD shows why, and it's because these three talented musicians are wise enough to blend their talents. Creating something special beyond what any individually might have achieved.
A great album from the past jazz fans will want to own.
Check it out at www.cellarlive.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Feb. 4, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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